Kinder Morgan pipeline may be too close to Burnaby schools.

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More schools likely along Kinder Morgan pipeline

Burnaby residents concerned over Kinder Morgan pipeline

Kinder Morgan pipeline may be too close to Burnaby schools.

Burnaby Residents Opposed to KinderMorgan Expansion (BROKE) claim that the numbers of schools are located in the route of the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline are much higher than reported.

“Besides Stoney Creek Community School and Lyndhurst Elementary, I received information this morning that even the Forest Grove Elementary is adjacent to the Trans Mountain right of way in the Forest Grove neighbourhood,” BROKE spokesman Alan Hunter said.

“There are many other schools along the route too. We don’t have an accurate count yet, but we are building it. One problem is that we cannot get an accurate up to date map of the present pipeline routes in Burnaby – there are jet fuel and pipelines carry a mix of products from synthetic crude to diluted bitumen and Kinder Morgan has not announced where the route will be except to say it will generally follow the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline route from Alberta to Burrard Inlet,” he said.

He also said that the residents were appalled to know that the Ministry of Education does not have an evacuation plan for the schools on the jet fuel and crude oil pipeline route.

“We have safety plans for schools and public buildings in case of a seismic event but nothing for children in schools near volatile jet fuel pipelines or near pipelines, tank farms and sub-stations that carry a toxic cocktail of chemicals — some of which, like benzene, that are known carcinogenic,” he said.

BROKE is now following up with the Ministry of Education, all school districts, the BC Federation of Teachers, the Burnaby Teacher’s Association, all PACs on the pipeline routes and near tank farms to develop comprehensive plans for child and worker safety.

A jet fuel line passes within meters of housing developments around Forest Grove and by Stoney Creel Community School. Jet fuel is very volatile and there is no specific safety plan for children or teachers at the school or along the pipeline routes.

Both pipelines present a real and present danger in case of a seismic event or a leak. And Kinder Morgan plans to build a third one to expand the shipment of heavy crude oil shipped at high heat at high temperature with a toxic cocktail of chemicals like cancer-causing benzene.

There was, of course, the pipeline rupture in 2007 in Burnaby that resulted in evacuations and then there were more evacuations in 2009 around Seaforth Elementary School near Government Road and around Forest Grove from a spill, Alan Hunter recalled.

BROKE is not the only organization raising the issue of schools and pipelines. The Burnaby Teachers’ Association also has concerns.

“Teachers in Burnaby, to the best of my knowledge, have not received any health and safety training or specific evacuation training to respond to any oil spills or exposure to these highly toxic chemicals,” Association president James Sanyshyn said.

The Wilderness Committee is equally worried about the pipelines and schools, pointing to the US where a Nevada mother launched a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan recently.

Committee spokesperson Ben West called the case a great tragedy. “It’s exactly the type of tragedy we need to prevent from happening here in BC,” he said.

“With Kinder Morgan holding info sessions at several elementary and secondary schools in the province, we hope this news will serve as a warning to local residents about the threats posed by pipelines running through highly populated communities.”

Kinder Morgan is planning to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline, which has been running oil from Alberta to Burnaby since 1953. The company hopes to twin the existing line, more than doubling capacity from 300,000 barrels of oil per day to 750,000, along the existing right-of-way where possible.